If you’re trying to build solid glute muscles, a simple squat isn’t going to get the job done. There are dozens of other butt workouts and exercise variations that are designed to target your glute muscles to help tone your booty. Here are some exercises you should include during your next leg day.
These are an absolute burner. For this exercise, you will need a bench or surface at a similar height. Weight is optional, but highly recommended. In order to perform this exercise, sit with your back against the bench, with your back aligned so the bench sits just below your shoulder blades. From a seated position, feet firmly planted on the ground, extend your hips upwards, using force from your glutes, not your back. Lift until your body forms a straight line and lower back down. You can add weight to this exercise by placing a barbell or dumbbell in your lap. If you don’t have weights and you want an extra challenge, try performing your hip thrusts with just one leg planted on the ground. To target your upper glute muscles, turn your legs out when performing this exercise.
Single-Leg Glute Bridge
This is an excellent isolation exercise that doesn’t require any equipment. Start lying on the ground face-up with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Straighten one of your legs and extend your hips with one leg planted on the ground. Squeeze your glutes once your body straightens at the top, and lower back down.
Although this machine typically targets your legs, your feet placement on the board determines what muscles are engaged. In order to engage your glutes with the leg press, place your feet towards the upper corners of the board. Make sure your feet are firmly planted on the board when performing this exercise. Release the board with the handles on either side of the machine. Lower the board slowly, ensuring that you maintain control of your legs and the machine. Slowly extend your legs to move the board to its original position.
Bulgarian Split Squat
This is an excellent exercise to target your glute muscles and practice stability. For this exercise, you will only need a bench or a surface at a similar height. Place one leg on the bench and adjust your body so you are in a lunge position. Slowly lower your body until your front leg is parallel to the floor. Driving through your heel, raise back up to the starting position. To make this exercise more challenging, try using dumbbells for an extra burn.
Although regular squats might not have all those booty blasting benefits, this variation has some adjustments that will be a game changer in your butt workouts. Start with your legs placed slightly wider than shoulder width apart and turn your feet outwards, which externally rotates your hips and will help engage those upper booty muscles. Push your hips backwards and squat down, not lowering your hips beyond your knees. Press back upwards with your heels and squeeze your glutes when you reach the top. To feel a more intense booty burn, try adding weight with a barbell or dumbbell.
Banded Hip Abductions
This exercise is a great way to isolate those upper glute muscles. For this exercise, you’ll need a resistance band placed right above your knees to create more muscle engagement. You can perform this exercise standing up or in a crawling position. If you’re standing up, sit your hips back slightly so your back is at an angle. Bend your knees and extend one leg sideways, externally rotating your hips to feel the burn in those upper glute muscles. I would recommend having a surface nearby that you can use for balance. If you’re in a crawling position, place both hands firmly on the ground with your back parallel to the ground. Lift your leg up sideways, externally rotating your hips once again.
Like the Sumo Squat, this deadlift variation is specifically designed to target your glute muscles, and will be an excellent addition to your butt workouts. This exercise is most effective when using weights, such as barbells and dumbbells. Start with your legs placed slightly wider than shoulder width apart and turn your feet outwards. Stick your booty out, hinge your hips and bend your back over, keeping your back and neck neutral. Press through your heels and hips to return to an upright position.
This high intensity exercise merges glute activation with cardio, leading to the perfect booty toning combination. Start in a normal squat position, and press up through your heels and jump, and lower back into a squat position once you land. This exercise is excellent at burning calories and keeping your heart rate up during your workout.
This exercise may look extremely simple, but it is extremely beneficial and focuses on strength, power and balance. This exercise requires a steady surface to step on, and adding weight, such as dumbbells, is highly recommended. Place your starting foot on the surface with dumbbells in each of your hands. Pushing through your right heel, step onto the surface with both feet. Step down with your starting foot first.
This bodyweight, equipment free exercise is extremely easy to master and will make you feel the burn the next day after your butt workouts. Start in a crawling position, with your knees directly below your hips and your hands directly below your shoulders. Lift your bent right leg to the ceiling, with the sole of your foot facing upwards. Make sure your hips are squared and your back doesn’t arch while performing this exercise.
This exercise is the perfect way to hit both your hamstrings and glutei during your butt workouts. You’ll need a stability ball, gliders or a folded towel on a hard surface to perform this exercise. Lie on your back with your heels pressed against your stability ball, gliders or folded towel, and lift your hips off the floor. Pull your feet closer to your glutes, and slide back to your starting position.
This variation of a reverse lunge uses external hip rotation to help target all of your glute muscles in one exercise. Start with your feet shoulder width apart, and take a big step backwards with your right leg, placing your weight on your left leg. Make sure your right and left leg are crossing in this position. Then slowly bend your knees and lower your body down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Press into your heels to raise back into your starting position.
With a variety of heavy lifting exercises and at-home friendly exercises, you’ll be prepared for your butt workouts any time, anywhere. While some of these exercises might take a few reps in order to perfect your form, they will help strengthen and tone your glutes and help your booty muscles pop.
Lara Hill is a senior Public Relations major at Emerson College from Groton, Massachusetts. She has contributed to several college publications, holding multiple editing positions and focusing mainly on sports journalism. When she is not in class or writing, she loves to sail, watch sports with her friends and family, sing with her sisters, and play with her dog, Cassie.